Business Focus: SHSU College of Arts & Media


Photos by Libby Rogers

The College of Arts & Media, also known as CAM, encompasses five broad artistic disciplines, as well as several degree opportunities available within each:

Dean Shields also shares, speaking of the acronym CAM, “It references those attributes that underscore our institutional values, a shorthand statement of what our College strives to be: Creative – Active – and Meaningful to our communities.”

CAM’s VISION is “Learning together to advance arts & media for the benefit of our communities.” This Vision is accomplished through the following six components:

The College of Arts & Media is housed in four campus buildings, TheDan Rather Communications Building, The University Theatre Center, The James, and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center (opened in2010), and the Art Complex (opened in Fall 2019). The GaertnerPerforming Arts Center and the Art Complex are state-of-the-art facilities allowing the full potential in all areas of the arts and media to be realized by undergraduate and graduate students alike. The recent purchase of the old Huntsville High School at 710 University Avenueadds additional space for art galleries and workshops, as the Department of Art and the Department of Biological Sciences, collaborate to foster research across academic disciplines. This venue also brings the artistic endeavors of SHSU closer into the fabric of the community, inviting

its growing awareness, enthusiasm, and participation in the arts. And as the community of Huntsville grows in its appreciation of the arts, likewise, the state, the nation, and the world are taking notice of the highly creative and professional work flowing from SHSU CAM into their own arenas.

The School of Music has strong programs in all areas of music and offers degrees in both undergraduate and graduate work. With aBachelor of Music degree, majors can specialize in music education, performance, and composition. The Bachelor of Music Therapy degree curriculum prepares students to sit for music therapy board certification and practice as professional musical therapists. The Master of Musicdegree is available in performance, conducting, composition, music therapy, musicology, and collaborative piano. And a Master of Arts degree is available in band studies.

The Department of Mass Communication has a rich history that continues to forge ahead into the ever-changing world of media, offering students at all levels a variety of platforms and experiences through which to develop skills and enhance creative expressions. Students pursuing degrees in film, media, public relations, telecommunications, journalism, and other related fields are offered a variety of opportunities, including work on The Houstonian (an award-winning student newspaper), a 24-hour student radio station, a community television station and participation in Spanish-language media. The department now offers a Master of Fine Arts in digital media production and a Master of Arts degree in digital media.

To add to its list of accomplishments, the Department of MassCommunication recently produced a film receiving world-wide acclaim. The Drone, written by noted screenwriter John McLaughlin, is a film centered around a small humanized quadcopter simply trying to fit in and find himself. In the process, he comes to Sam Houston StateUniversity, and everything begins to click! This film produced for showing to prospective SHSU students has now won numerous highly-coveted worldwide awards as a Sci-Fi film. It is one more marker of success for an already prestigious university department.

The Department of Dance shines its creative light into the world as well, with student, faculty and alumni accolades to their credit. The department offers a rich curriculum in all areas of dance including performance, education, choreography, costume design, technical direction and lighting design with both Bachelor and Master of FineArts degrees offered. The Department has been consistently recognized for outstanding choreography and performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and faculty members Andy and DionneNoble (founders of the Noble Motion Dance Company in Houston) have had their work featured on a recent episode of American Crime Story.

“The Dean’s office succeeds when we make things happen for other people. Our job is to support the faculty who will then help students achieve their goals.”

The Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre can also boast remarkable successes as graduates are now performing in Broadway productions, film, television, and in many well-known theatre companies around the United States. Training is available in acting, directing, technical theatre, costume, lighting, and set design, stage make-up, stage management, theatre history, and dramatic theory, as well as voice, musicianship, and dance. Graduates are well prepared for the challenges in the real world.

Housed in the new Art Complex is the fastest-growing academic unit of CAM. The Department of Art offers programs which include photography, painting, printmaking, drawing, art education, and history, graphic design, animation, sculpture, and ceramics. The animation program is rated third in the state and in the top ten of programs in the western United States.


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